Biweekly vs Semiweekly: Which Should You Use?

One of the fascinating aspects of language is grammar. You’ve all been in a scenario when you couldn’t tell the difference between two words or using the wrong one during a conversation. We’ll look at two of the most confusing terms in this article: biweekly vs semiweekly.

What Does Biweekly Mean?

Biweekly vs semiweekly image showing the definition of biweekly

The term “biweekly” first appeared in print in the 1880s. “Twice” or “two” is the meaning of the prefix bi-. The suffix -ly makes adverbs, denotes “every” biweekly. Various other time units, such as hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly employ this suffix.

Thus, we can say that biweekly meaning is it happens every two weeks. The word fortnightly is its synonym.

When to Use Biweekly?

The term biweekly can be an adverb or an adjective.

An adverb is a word or phrase that modifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group to express a relationship in terms of place, time, circumstance, method, cause, degree, or other factors.

In this situation, biweekly represents a period. Its meaning, occurring every two weeks, shows biweekly as an adjective. An adjective is a term that describes a noun’s feature.

As a result, the adjective biweekly can describe a noun. You can take this scenario, where you buy after a specific time. If the period is two weeks, then you can say that shopping is biweekly. Understanding this is helpful in knowing the difference between biweekly versus semiweekly.

Examples of Using Biweekly in a Sentence

As an adverb:

  • We shall hold the class meeting biweekly.
  • Tutors receive their salary biweekly.
  • The mother said that we could go to the beach biweekly.

As an adjective:

  • Have you been watching the biweekly law documentary?
  • I have just received the issue of my favorite biweekly magazine.
  • It would be best if you considered adding content to your biweekly blog covering issues of interest.

What Does Semiweekly Mean?

Semiweekly means twice a week

The term “semiweekly” first appeared in print in the late 1700s. The prefix semi- indicates “half,” and it’s used in words like semiannually, which means “twice a year,” and semimonthly, which means “twice a month.”

The most common definition of semiweekly is twice a week. Another explanation is happening once every one-half a week.

When to Use Semiweekly?

The prefix semi- conceptually splits what it is affixed to in half, just as a semicircle divides a circle in two: “semiweekly” denotes two times per week. As a result, you can use semiweekly to describe something that occurs twice a week. You can use it as both an adjective and an adverb.

You can use the scenario given earlier about buying shopping after a certain period. In this case, you will look at the number of times you do it for easier understanding. If shopping is purchased two times a week, then you can say that you buy semiweekly.

Examples of Using Semiweekly in a Sentence

As an adverb:

  • The popular kids’ shows will be aired semiweekly.
  • This site allows withdrawal semiweekly.
  • The priest offers communion during mass semiweekly.

As an adjective:

  • The semiweekly support group meeting has helped me a lot.
  • The airport has launched semiweekly flights to Malawi.
  • The lecturer asked us to submit semiweekly reports of our projects.

What Is the Difference Between Semiweekly and Biweekly?

As definitions and style guides continue to stretch and distort, using bi or semi in front of periods can cause misunderstandings. And, biweekly vs semiweekly are among the controversial words with these prefixes.

The difference between semiweekly and biweekly is the frequency of an event. If you are getting paid twice a month, that means your salary is set to biweekly. When you go grocery shopping twice a week, then you have a semiweekly setup.

However, those who are adamant about precision might stick to bi and semi’s original meanings: bi = two, semi = half or twice. Such devotion would result in biweekly for “every two weeks” and semiweekly for “once a week.”

The Trick to Using Biweekly vs Semiweekly

Many individuals confuse bi-weekly and semiweekly since they use bi-weekly to signify twice a week when they should be using semiweekly. To avoid any confusion, instead of battling with biweekly vs semiweekly, you can say every two weeks, every other week, or even once a week.


Biweekly essentially means something that occurs every two weeks. You can define semiweekly as something that happens twice a week or rather two times a week. Since biweekly vs semiweekly creates confusion, you can use the exact time instead.

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